Saturday, May 03, 2008

Angry Baby

I never knew I was an angry person until I became a mother.

I could have easily named a whole lot of ongoing sin struggles, but anger? Wouldn't have made the list. In fact, I think I've often thought of anger as a "male" sin--this image of a powerful man with a dangerous temper who stomps around and yells a lot. Well, I don't do any stomping, and I don't often yell out loud, but my ugly heart does a lot of yelling and stomping inside.

It seems I want nothing more than to be served and catered to, to "have it my way," and when people around me--family, friends or strangers--don't cooperate to make my life smooth, comfortable and convenient, my inner three-year-old throws a silent (but no less obnoxious) temper tantrum. Somehow I don't think this is what God meant when He said I must become like a little child.

No, in this way I don't have to become like a little child...rather, Elijah reveals to me that I already am like a little child. Similar to the way marriage is a mirror, motherhood is also providing a reflection of my heart--and it's not flattering me by telling me I'm the fairest of them all. To my dismay, I see that I am no different than the screaming nine-month-old the backseat, except maybe less ear-piercing.

"No, parents, you are not paranoid. Babies really have been sent into your life to confuse all your plans, to frustrate your best intentions, to outwit you at every turn and to drive you to your knees. In short: to reduce you to tears, just like themselves. For you are exactly the same, you two. One's big, one's little, but there the difference ends, and God would have you know this. He wants you to know that you too are but a mewling little rosebud, kicking in your blankets and screaming bloody murder whenever the big Butler-in-the-Sky doesn't bring your food and drink on a silver platter at exactly the right time."
--Mike Mason, The Mystery of Children: What Our Kids Teach Us About Childlike Faith


The Chinlund Family said...

Boy can I relate with you on this one! I don't yell or stomp either, but I sure can pout with the best of them! Not that it makes my sin any less ugly, but it's oddly comforting to know I'm not the only one who would like the universe to revolve around themself :)

sara jean said...

Amy, I agree, I could make a list of sin and I wouldn't have thought anger to be on it either..then I became a teacher with defiant students. I don't have a child to remind me 24/7 but my students do a pretty good job of helping me see my own sin and the ugliness of it. I never stop pleading for God's grace to cover me!

Sarah D. said...

Oh dear... What I have to look forward to! It won't be pretty to see myself mirrored in my child!

Good post, Amy. =)

Anonymous said...

anger is a sin? Gee if I remember correctly, Christ was pretty PO'd when he drove the money changers out of the temple, but I also seem to remember this little quality of his called "sinlessness

Amy said...

Anonymous, you're absolutely right--anger is not necessarily a sin in and of itself. Please forgive me for not being more clear.

When I described anger as a sin, I was referring to two things:
--the way anger leads us to sin (we treat other people poorly because we are irritable or angry)
--anger that is based on sin (my anger is really stemming from pride or selfishness; I am angry because I am not in control, because things aren't going the way *I* want them to go)

Does that help to clarify my thinking? Anger isn't always wrong; there is certainly such a thing as righteous anger--as Jesus proves. But I am certainly far from being like Him--and for me, anger is very often tied to sin.